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What is a Spring Washer?

written by: johnsinit • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 12/8/2009

Washers are an essential element in any mechanical design, as they help in uniform distribution of the applied load and aid in securing the fasteners to their place. Spring washers endure stress well under any working condition and reduce the vibrations in the equipment considerably.

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    Types of Spring Washers

    Spring washers can be broadly classified into

    • Belleville Washers
    • Wave Washers
    • Curved Washers
    • Slotted Washers

    There are innumerable numbers of manufacturers supplying spring washers worldwide and they also offer custom made solutions for your actual requirement. Spring washers are normally made from high carbon steel for industrial applications and plastic washers are intended for small applications. Now, we shall take a close look at all the various spring washers and their use in different conditions.

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    Belleville Washers

    These washers are utilized when high loads are applied which may lead to minute deflections. They are conical in shape that enables to perform characteristics similar to a spring. They withstand higher loads admirably and secure the fasteners without much vibration or rattling. Belleville Washers allow a constant force to be applied at all times and as such, are suitable for industrial use with continuous operation like structural steel. They are useful in racing cars due to their great flexibility while turning at great speeds and in aircraft for oscillation dampening. The spring constant can be suitably changed by stacking them in the same or opposite direction depending on the required end result. This ability gives infinite possibilities which can be successfully utilized for operations.Belleville Washer  

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    Wave Washers

    Wave washers are used when radial space is constrained and moderate loads are applied in the operation. The number of waves on the washer will be greater than three. The capacity of the spring or the spring rate is directly proportional to the fourth power of the number of waves designed on the wave washer. This gives flexibility to design higher capacity washers.Wave Washer  

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    Curved Washers

    Compared to the other two described above, curved washers can be used for small operations. They are more useful in controlling axial play rather than linear play, which limits their use to an extent. They find greater use in motors, bearings, and seals that suffer axial play more than anything else.Curved-Washer  

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    Slotted Washers

    These are a combination of the beneficial effects of a Belleville springs and a flat washer. They combine the Belleville flexibility and point loading of a flat washer, which make them useful in specific situations. Slotted washers can be employed gainfully where the working part has high Inner diameter and small outer diameter like clutch assemblies of automobiles or ball bearings in motors and generators. However, the manufacture of slotted washers is complex and high precision is needed to get the combined result of the Belleville and the flat washer.

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